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i sold andy warhol (too soon) by RICHARD POLSKY

from Shelf-Awareness

Book Review: i sold Andy Warhol. (too soon)

i sold Andy Warhol. (too soon) by Richard Polsky (Other Press, $23.95, 9781590513378/1590513371, September 15, 2009)

A wild roller coaster ride is nothing compared to the vertiginous ups and downs of the contemporary art market between 2005 and 2009 described by Richard Polsky (I Bought Andy Warhol). No sooner had he sold his green Andy Warhol Fright Wig painting in 2005 than he had the worst kind of seller’s remorse. Not only had he loved the painting, but he quickly realized he had let it go cheaply–an orange Fright Wig painting sold for much, much more within two years. As he tells us, he had violated the cardinal rule for art dealers–never get emotionally involved in your inventory–and he paid dearly.

In a valiant attempt to downplay the loss he suffered from bad timing, Polsky focuses on the allure that the constantly changing market holds for him. Its shifting seats of power fascinate him in the extreme: gallery owners no longer dominate as auction houses call the shots; people rush from one international art fair to another in search of the next big thing; old-time dealers like Polsky reinvent themselves as “financial art advisors” and connect owners of particularly desirable artworks with auction houses hungry for saleable inventory; advisors recount stories about Wayne Thiebaud’s Bakery Counter to entice collectors to part with collections (bought for $500 in 1962 to hang over a couch, the painting sold for $1.5 million in 1998). The scene is crazy, sexy and never boring for Polsky, even if it is more about doing business than loving a thing of rare beauty.

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Posted on August 27, 2009 by Editor

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